Conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are outlined in what is known as the Blue Book, which is divided into Part A (Adult Listings) and Part B (Childhood Listings). For adults, there 14 sections in the list of impairments, and one deals with Malignant Neoplastic Malignancies (Section 13.00). Neoplasms are abnormal mass of tissue growths, so in other words this section deals primarily with cancers, but not including those cancers associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which are found in Section 14.00.
What is included under Section 13.00 is mesothelioma, a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma or more specifically malignant mesothelioma is often mistaken for lung cancer, but it is actually a completely different type of cancer wherein the abnormal growth of cells is in the lining of organs, called the mesothelium. It is often mistaken for lung cancer because the growth typically starts in the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs, although it can also easily start in the abdomen, testicles and heart.
Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma may qualify for SSD from the early stage onwards, and the standard review process of the Social Security Administration (SSA) applies. According to the Chris Mayo Law Firm’s website, this can be a long, complicated process that can end in denial if the claimant fails to present the proper documentation. However, because there are certain types of mesothelioma, specifically peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma, that are particularly virulent, the SSA applies an expedited review process called Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program so that benefits may be granted faster, although complete documents are still required.
To qualify for SSD benefits, the claimant must have the cancer originate or metastasize in the pleura, or if the cancer is elsewhere in the body not be controlled by any cancer medication or therapy. The records must include a biopsy or operative report or any hospitalization or physician report summarizing the type and extent of the cancer. It is rare for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma to be denied SSD benefits; in most cases it is because the medical records were incomplete.
For a successful application for SSD benefits, it is recommended that a knowledgeable legal representative prepares the documents. This will ensure that all the necessary bases are covered and avoid delays in approval, which individuals with malignant mesothelioma can ill-afford.